The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has officially announced the death of one of its fast-rising referees, Razak Okedeyi.
In a statement issued and signed by Oni Afolabi, a member of the board of the NBBF, the federation expressed shock over the death of Mr Okedeyi whose sad demise occurred today (Thursday).
Mr Afolabi said the NBBF was briefed by a FIBA-certified referee and coordinator of the Nigerian Basketball Referees Council, Kingsley Ojeaburu, that Okedeyi died shortly after complaining of a severe headache.
The NBBF President, Musa Kida, described the news of one of the rising referees in Nigeria as shocking and very difficult to comprehend.
“I am just speechless. Imagine a young chap who was about to start his journey in life as a man just suddenly dying. Who are we to question in this situation or how are we going to describe this?
“This year has been tough on us all. From the death of loved ones, some stakeholders and the lockdown and suspension of all sporting activities occasioned by COVID-19, year 2020 has been a very difficult year.”
Dark Thursday for Nigerian basketball
We have lost one of the most vibrant referees in Nigeria, Razak ‘Slims’ Okedeyi
He died earlier today after complaining of headache
This young and versatile brought swag to bball officiating officiating
We are speechless as we mourn pic.twitter.com/jxoardxE4D
— #NBBF (@nbbfonline) July 23, 2020
NBBF’s Vice President and the South-west representative on the board, Babs Ogunade, in his reaction described Okedeyi’s death as a great blow to the basketball fraternity most especially in Nigeria.
“Dear Lord, he just anchored the recent online South West Zonal Referees training Programme that took place last week and was preparing the Coaches’ training module billed for Monday. This is unbelievable. May his soul find profound peace.”
Okedeyi who until his death was a member of the Nigerian Basketball Referees Council was last in action during the 2019/2020 Total Division One League held earlier this year in Lagos.
He was the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Lagos State Referees Council as well as the founder and head coach of Flygerian Basketball Academy.
While many are still patiently waiting to see the return of sporting activities in the country, this indeed is a big blow for the sporting fraternity.